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Harrell House of Cards 2


FITSNews – October 10, 2007 – Let’s start with the obvious, namely that Gov. Mark Sanford opened his mouth and inserted a loafer-full of foot at yesterday morning’s Cabinet meeting. How else can one explain joking in front of a bunch of reporters that the South Carolina State House was ‘kinda sorta maybe’ on his terrorist target wishlist?

Sure, Gov. “Funny Guy” was in the middle of making a perfectly valid point: We absolutely shouldn’t be spending $6 million to add terrorist protection to a building that’s a) not a terrorist target and b) is already quite well-protected, especially considering the fact that South Carolina currently leads the nation in everyday, “homegrown” violent crimes.

But was Sanford’s Bin Laden humor really advisable?

Of course not, and although we found it side-splittingly hilarious, we’re also crass, insensitive and immature people. Which is probably why the stuff we find funny (i.e man cleavage) is generally what the “Oprah nation” is furrowing its collective brow in politically-correct disapproval over the next day.

Speaking of the limitless brigades of opportunistic, politically-correct, “just what you’d expect them to say” politicians, their leading warrior against the governor’s comedic aggression yesterday was none other than House Speaker Bobby Harrell, who appeared to have hired Oprah herself to write his press release criticizing Sanford:

“Do we need something like an Oklahoma City-style bombing of our historic state capitol before the governor realizes there is a need to insure the safety of the people who come to our capitol?” Harrell asked rhetorically, almost as if he was personally wiping the Bald Eagle’s tears away in one of those post-9/11 lithographs. “This is about protecting the tens of thousands of people who visit the State House grounds every year, the history of our state and protecting the continued operations of government.”

Actually, with all due respect to Speaker “Happy Place,” that’s not even remotely what this is all about.

What it’s about is Harrell exploiting (fairly skillfully, we might add) a boneheaded move by Sanford to score political points with legislators who hate the governor … oh, and who love spending your money on fancy new government stuff. Basically, it was a made-to-order “two-fer” for a guy whose purpose in life seems to be defending the very institutions and excesses that Sanford is trying to expose, albeit clumsily and inconsistently at times.

Harrell’s statement, however deft it may have been, is reminescent of the same kind of trite, opportunistic drivel he dished out when Sanford said recently that a legislative slush fund disguised as a “competitive grants” program ought to be tapped to pay for a Greenville jobs project, not the vital state energy fund Harrell’s buddies ended up tapping for the project instead.

Sanford was challenging Harrell to use economic development dollars to actually pay for economic development, instead of a bunch of pig-themed local festivals and other crap that legislators are currently using the fund to pay for.

Of course, Harrell was able to successfully frame the debate about where the money was going, not where it was coming from, making it look like he was working to save jobs in Greenville while the governor was working to … well, not save them.

Don’t get us wrong, we’re not saying either release was a bad move for Harrell to make politically, but let’s not sit here and pretend that they were about him nobly fighting the good fight for worthy causes, either.

In both instances, he’s preaching to a legislative choir and capitalizing on Sanford missteps, not to mention exploiting the cheap and easily-sensationalized definition of what actually went down.

Just as there’s “no business like show business,” there’s “no outrage like faux outrage,” people.

Sanford’s challenge, in addition to avoiding such missteps in the future, is figuring out how to react effectively when Harrell pops him, which the Speaker clearly seems to have developed a fetish for doing.

If we were governor (editor’s note – a frightening thought), we’d just call his ass out, maybe by saying something like “if Bobby really wants to be governor he needs to learn how to take a joke, and then figure out how to tell a bunch of victims’ advocates that he’d rather spend money that ought to be going to them on an anti-terrorism boondoggle.”

Then we’d probably light a cigar, slap somebody on the ass, prop our feet up on the desk and exclaim with much satisfaction, “Who’s the Mayor of Importantville now, b*tches?”

Except given our history, let’s take out the whole “ass-slapping” thing and throw in a good chart or graph to illustrate our point …